The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard Preview for Xbox 360

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7Out of 10
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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard screenshot
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard screenshot

You stumble onto the conflict between the vampires and the Dawnguard by chatting to the guards of Skyrim, who don't waste any time in informing you the Dawnguard are recruiting once you've purchased and installed the first expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

An E3 2012 demo of the game takes place between three and five hours into the new content, which is promised to be over twenty hours long - though a Bethesda representative wouldn't confirm if that figure was calculated after playing the content once as each faction. You've got to choose between becoming a vampire lord or serving in the Dawnguard, you see, and almost everyone I know has pledged to walk the path of the Nosferatu.

The demo had me playing as a vampire (it's as if they knew) and thrown into a quest with a character called Serana, also a vampire, searching for her mother by opening a portal to the Soul Cairn - a new dimension of Oblivion that's terrifyingly purple. Serana's quest is tied to the location of an Elder Scroll, but I didn't get to play much farther than a couple of quests so you don't need to worry about spoilers.

Becoming a Vampire Lord makes you weaker during the day but also gives you the ability to transform in a way similar to the werewolf from the main game, only with the option to turn back whenever you want. A Vampire Lord can choose to either walk or float, and attacks with melee when their feet are on the ground and magic in the air - you toggle between the two states by pressing the sneak button.

Then there's your abilities. First off, the fun ones: Vampire Grip is the stand out highlight, which sucks enemies towards you and has you drain them of life and fling them aside afterwards. You can also teleport into a swarm of bats and hop around the map, summon gargoyles and paralyse foes with corpse curse.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dawnguard screenshot

Elsewhere there's stuff like Power of the Grave, which gives you stat bonuses across the board, a boost to your reflexes, an ability to detect all creatures and a whizzy mist form. I didn't get to try all of these out - they're all part of a two-branch perk tree that you unlock once you choose the vampiric side, and if you elect to go for the goody two-shoes Dawnguard lot you'll unlock another skill tree. The vampire hunters get access to crossbows, loads of armour and can summon the assistance of trolls. No, I have no idea how.

You faction choice (and whizzy new powers) carry over into the rest of the game, so the real highlight of Dawnguard at this stage appears to be in further tailoring your precious Skyrim character. Be warned, however, as there's no way to go back and pick the other side without starting a fresh character.

As for the quest on offer in this preview build, it had the player locate and rummage around three massive spires to destroy their keepers, which felt like pretty standard Skyrim stuff. Only now you're a vampire, and that's great.

The 1600 Microsoft Point asking price for Dawnguard certainly looks a bit steep, but if Bethesda isn't telling porkies with the amount of content you're getting it could be a real highlight this summer.

I'm definitely siding with the vampires.

The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard is released exclusively on Xbox 360 on June 26. PC and PS3 versions of the add-on will arrive a minimum of 30 days later.

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User Comments

Matiomcema's Avatar

Matiomcema@ Rissa-nator

yeh. Any way to download this skyrim dawnguard dlc for free, try out this skyrim dawnguard dlc code free giveaway contest

Edit: url deleted
Posted 18:18 on 01 July 2012
Rissa-nator's Avatar


and what if you invested less money into a better gaming system such as the ps3?!?! you have to wait!!!!!! talk about P.O-ED! it"s dumb!
Posted 23:35 on 25 June 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ MrGloomy

If it helps I've no idea where the moon tower is :) I'm trying to finish as many quests as I can before speaking to the duke, because so ser maximilian tells me, all my current quests will be handed to someone else to finish when I do!

Both my pawn and main have now maxed two full vocations and I kinda want to switch my pawn to Warrior for a while just to give her some more health, then maybe back to fighter for some more defense. But Ultimately I think she'll end up as sorc. Which you may want to consider at least maxing because the last 2 augments are 20% increased magic attack and decrease casting time. There's also one that makes you harder to interrupt when casting and one that increases your defense while casting.

My main maxed it because it also has one that reduces stamina consumption for magic attacks by 15%.

So much more depth in character progression than Skyrim :P
Posted 09:17 on 14 June 2012
p0rtalthinker's Avatar


Can't wait for this to come out on PC. This is just the thing I need to get back into the world of Skyrim again :D
Posted 00:16 on 14 June 2012
MrGloomy's Avatar

MrGloomy@ Endless

Oh my balls! I really better get started doing the main quest stuff. I still haven't killed my first Griffin or gone to the Moon tower. I really must stop myself trying to get to the 200 level cap.
Posted 15:10 on 13 June 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ MrGloomy

You know once you kill the Dragon in Dragon's Dogma there's NewGame+ and a further 16 levels of Everfall to go through, plus additional quest DLC :)
Posted 14:48 on 13 June 2012
clangod's Avatar


I like the look of this. Even though I've not played Skyrim seriously in months. All I've done is messed around with mods and character builds on PC. What a disappointment it was going back to my 100+ hour PS3 build after so long.

A great game no doubt. Vampire Lord and mounted combat ftw :)
Posted 13:13 on 13 June 2012
MrGloomy's Avatar


After nearly 400 hours playing Skyrim, getting to lvl78 and basically living in a virtual world for months, I'm not sure I should get into this. This being said, I'm deep into Dragon's Dogma at the moment and Darksiders 2 is just around the corner. Christ, I still haven't completed Kingdoms of Amular, which I was enjoying a whole bunch (apart from a totally forgettable story). I think once I've smashed my way through Dragon's Dogma and slain the beast that is Kingdoms of Amular, I might have to get this DLC, as Skyrim has proven to be one of my favourite gaming pleasures this generation of consoles.

One thing I have to know, can you be a vampire while being a Lycan/Werewolf? I like my werewolf alter-ego so I don't want to shave my fluffy body hair so I can sprout vampiric wings and nibble at the occasional neck or two. I also hope the DLC increases the level-cap otherwise I might as well start a new character and do the same thing all over again...which sounds sweet to me :)
Posted 12:25 on 13 June 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 26/06/2012
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: RPG
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 2,027 1215
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